El Renacimiento
(Jan. 15, 1910)

Excerpts from the Original Electronic Text at the web site of Anti-Imperialism in the United States (1898-1935), ed. by Jim Zwick, Syracuse University.

The drama nears its end. This morning the American Judge Jenkins pronounced sentence against us in the civil suit for libel brought by Commissioner Worcester.[1] It is for P60,000 damages, and costs. The Renacimiento, which, as our readers know, was not undertaken for the sake of profit and has never been a lucrative enterprise, does not possess any such amount. We must, therefore, expect to be sold out by the sheriff, and this issue is probably our last. These lines must serve as our farewell to the Philippine people. Under conditions so striking as necessarily to attract the attention of the country, arousing it to the realization of an intolerable situation, vainly gilded by hypocrisy and pretense which are but a thin veneer for unbridled greed and triumphant arrogance, this Filipino paper is forced to relinquish the hard task undertaken eight years ago.

We have been assured that vandal governments and enslaved peoples, with the accompanying rapacity and tyranny, have been unknown since the dark ages, and that humanity is marching steadily toward a glorious future, enlightened by liberty and democracy. Our readers can judge for themselves how far all this is true. Unasked, the Americans came to these islands, impelled (they say) by the love of humanity, and announcing that they brought with them liberty and prosperity; -- all, in short, that an oppressed people dream of. For a moment we believed that the hour of redemption was at hand. When the armed opposition of the people was overcome, and the Americans found themselves undisputed lords of the land, redemption became domination under the guise of "preparing the Philippine people for self-government." Some believed, or pretended to believe, in this scheme, supposing that justice, liberty of thought and speech, and the freedom of the press were safeguarded. But soon the veil was torn from their eyes. Suspicion replaced trust, and discontent, hope. The people, shocked and surprised, could no longer explain the acts of the government as resulting from pure philanthropy. Again and again dull murmurs arise from the masses, indicating unrest and discontent, but apparently the government is either too proud to admit the possibility of a protest against its omnipotence, or so credulous as to suppose that the people are in reality increasingly satisfied with American sovereignty and that soon the efforts of agitators to keep afire the flame of independence in the hearts of their fellow-countrymen will be no longer effective.

There is an attempt to make it appear that we have in these islands an earthly paradise created by American intervention for the benefit of the Filipino, where no crime goes unpunished, where the American treats the native like a brother, and the native looks to the American as an exemplar of morality, and where the office-holder is a missionary, working solely for the love of God and his fellow men, unmindful of his pocket. Whoever dares whisper the contrary, and attempts to prove it, is Anti-American, a demagogue, an agitator, a rebel, a disturber of the peace. Yet what is, in fact, the avowed purpose of the present Administration? Is it not to attract to these islands American exploiters by offering every encouragement and protection, by representing these islands as a land of promise with which Providence has rewarded American military prowess?

Against this course we have protested, seeing in it only a menace to Philippine nationality; and in this, our last issue, we protest once more against the present policy, which is in conflict with the legitimate aspirations of the Philippine people. Conquered, but unconvinced, we lay down our work with the satisfaction of having fulfilled our duty. The battle has been a desperate one, and our last cartridge is spent. One way of safety, indeed, lay open to us; we might have survived the disaster by humbling ourselves before our powerful adversaries and recanting. The instinct of self-preservation was strong, but loyalty to our country was stronger. Money, influence and authority were all on the side of the enemy; on ours only the national conscience, which gave us courage. The people know the outcome of the struggle. The American courts of justice (so-called) have found us guilty. It is well to repeat here the statement made before one of the judges who condemned us: "Your honor, this case involves the good name of the government and the prestige of the American people in these islands." Perhaps, had the tables been turned, we should have done the same, for such is universally the "justice" of imperialism.

It may be that at this moment of our cessation great events are impending. During the next ten years, -- perhaps sooner, -- the country will see great changes, notwithstanding all official assurances to the contrary. We should have liked to play our part, but since this is impossible, we have one last word of advice to give our people. We can never become Anglo-Saxons even though we wished it. We are an Oriental people: a part of the East which is today rising in its strength and shaking off the tyranny of ages. Let us remember now and in the future that the only salvation of our race lies in independence. It may be that notwithstanding the "liberty" of the press in these islands, a successor may take up our work in the vanguard of the people. In such case we bespeak for it all the support which has hitherto been ours.


1. On November 5, 1908, five people connected with El Renacimiento were prosecuted for libeling U.S. Philippine Commissioner Dean C. Worcester. The article did not mention Worcester by name but alluded to him as a "bird of prey" who had used his office to accumulate a fortune through improper means. Two of the defendents were sentenced to six months imprisonment and fined $1,000 each. The case was appealed, and El Renacimiento continued to operate until the appeal also resulted in a decision against it. El Renacimiento was immediately succeeded by La Vanguardia, which the secretary of the Anti-Imperialist League described as "representing exactly the same views, though presenting them with some added caution."

Preferred citation: El Renacimiento. "Farewell" The Public 13 (March 25, 1910). http://www.maxwell.syr.edu/unofficial/students/fjzwick/vof/er011510.html In Jim Zwick, ed., Anti-Imperialism in the United States, 1898-1935. http://web.syr.edu/~fjzwick/ail98-35.html (January 1996).

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